Royce Akers is tired, but happy – though he recognises it’s a bit basic to be a parent and complain about being tired. I told him there was no limit to the number of times he could say it to me. When I asked him how Kalu would describe him he answered, ‘If she said I was a good cook and made her laugh every other day, I’d be happy.’ I liked that he set himself reasonable goals.
Almost four-year-old Nushi wakes up each morning knowing exactly what she wants to wear. Royce thinks she would be an incredible character in a Korean horror film, though she gets scared easily. He says she inherited his big moon face, and that he’s in awe of her amazing ability to describe her feelings. Looking after his one and a half-year-old Billy feels like hanging out. He can’t talk yet, but Royce is convinced Billy understands banter better than most people.
He said it sounded dumb, but the move from Collingwood to Preston was a big change for him and Kalu. They used to party and have people fighting outside their bedroom window all night. Now he’s a guy who thinks a lot about mowing the lawn.
How do you and Kalu share the parenting load?
I think we do our best to keep it as even as possible. It’s a conversation but we’re not a couple that keeps a ledger. I go to work during the week, so when I’m home I try to do as much as I can and I love it. But I know doing breakfasts and bedtimes is never going to be the same as the full eight hours Kalu has them alone during the day. She’s recently started selling a bit of sourced furniture through Curated Spaces, so on the weekends, we make sure she has time to work on that.
How has your work-life changed since becoming a parent?
I’ve adapted to running on a quarter of the usual brain capacity. It’s meant relying a little more on others and it’s been good to stop pretending to always know the answer – which is a tendency I have. I also stopped going out, which presents challenges when you work for a youth media company like Vice. But as with everything else, you just have to rely on others to keep those connections with culture.
Would you like to take on more parenting responsibilities? If yes, how do you see that happening?
When Billy came along I said I’d scale things back to four days a week but it didn’t happen for a couple of reasons. I feel bad about that.
Do you still travel a lot for work? How does it work alongside family life?
I’ve scaled work travel way back since the kids came along. I’m not into being away from the action.
What’s your experience with Dad guilt? Is it a thing?
I feel guilty about constantly talking about them. I feel guilty when I’m not with them. When I get mad at them I feel guilty afterward. So without googling Dad Guilt, I’m pretty sure I get it from time to time. I’ve had other Dads tell me they feel guilty watching Bluey. The dad on that show has become a low-key role model, which is hilarious and awesome.
How do you keep the romance alive in a long term relationship? Asking for a friend.
There are all sorts of waivers I’d need to sign before answering this one.
What’s been your proudest moment since becoming a parent?
Childbirth was unbelievable both times. Those were moments where I was super proud. I was in awe of Kalu and the kids.
What do you hate most about parenthood?
Look, it’s gotta be the nights, but we’ll fix that eventually.